Non-vegan products can lurk in the most unsuspecting places. You would think that houses are vegan, but that’s not always the case. Beware of things that might have come from animal sources such as wool rugs, silk throw pillows, down comforters, feather dusters and shell knick-knacks. Just as with buying clothes, check the labels on any new fabric item you bring into your home to make sure it didn’t come from an animal source. Inspect new items that don’t necessarily have content labels and question the origin of the components.


Another area that needs attention is the cleaning supply closet. More cleaning products are tested on animals than not. Also be careful of beauty, cosmetic and health care items. Animal testing is prevalent in these items, and sometimes there are even animal ingredients such as lanolin and carmine hidden in them.


60 to 100 million animals are killed annually in U.S. laboratories, in everything from burn and starvation experiments to weaponry testing and space research. About another 14 million are killed in product tests. These animals include dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and guinea pigs. In some states, pounds surrender stray dogs and cats to laboratories. People even pick up strays, purchase animals, and trap or steal animals to sell to companies that do experiments.


Outdated laws require that all drugs be tested on animals. Even so, more than half the prescription drugs approved by the FDA between 1976 and 1985 had to be relabeled or withdrawn from the market because of serious side effects. Animals are different from human beings in many significant ways, which makes testing human drugs on animals ineffective and possibly dangerous. Sophisticated research methods, such as computer models, cell cultures, and human and epidemiological studies are more accurate, less expensive, less time consuming and far less cruel than animal testing.


There are no laws that require cosmetics and household products to be tested on animals, yet many companies continue to do so. Substances like shampoo, mouthwash, disinfectant and correction fluid are dropped into the eyes of fully conscious rabbits, while experimenters record the damage, which can include ulceration, bleeding and blinding. Animals are often reused in other experiments when these experiments have finished. Toothpaste, lipstick, soap, ink, oven cleaner and other chemicals are pumped into animals’ stomachs to determine how much will kill or incapacitate them. Death comes from painful poisoning or stomach rupture. Nail polish remover, furniture wax, hair remover, drain cleaners and other substances are smeared onto rabbit’s shaved, raw skin. Blistering and bleeding are the common result, and some chemicals completely eat through animals’ delicate skin.


Many products proudly bear a “cruelty free” logo, usually somewhere on the back. Look for it before purchasing items. Send back items you may have from companies that still test on animals, and tell them that you won’t purchase their products until they stop. For more information on animal testing and a list of companies that don’t do animal testing see PETA’s Shopping Guide for Caring Consumers or Leaping Bunny.